Scoping potential routes to UK civil unrest via the food system: results of a structured expert elicitation

Jones, Aled, Bridle, Sarah, Denby, Katherine, Bhunnoo, Riaz, Morton, Daniel, Stanbrough, Lucy, Coupe, Barnaby, Pilley, Vanessa, Benton, Tim, Falloon, Pete, Matthews, Tom K., Hasnain, Saher, Heslop-Harrison, John S., Beard, Simon, Pierce, Julie, Pretty, Jules, Zurek, Monika, Johnstone, Alexandra, Smith, Pete, Gunn, Neil, Watson, Molly, Pope, Edward, Tzachor, Asaf, Douglas, Caitlin, Reynolds, Christian, Ward, Neil, Fredenburgh, Jez, Pettinger, Clare, Quested, Tom, Cordero, Juan Pablo, Mitchell, Clive, Bewick, Carrie, Brown, Cameron, Brown, Christopher, Burgess, Paul J., Challinor, Andy, Cottrell, Andrew, Crocker, Thomas, George, Thomas, Godfray, Charles J., Hails, Rosie S., Ingram, John, Lang, Tim, Lyon, Fergus, Lusher, Simon, MacMillan, Tom, Newton, Sue, Pearson, Simon, Pritchard, Sue, Sanders, Dale, Sanderson Bellamy, Angelina, Steven, Megan, Trickett, Alastair, Voysey, Andrew, Watson, Christine, Whitby, Darren and Whiteside, Kerry (2023) Scoping potential routes to UK civil unrest via the food system: results of a structured expert elicitation. Sustainability, 15 (20). ISSN 2071-1050

[thumbnail of sustainability-15-14783-v2]
PDF (sustainability-15-14783-v2) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


We report the results of a structured expert elicitation to identify the most likely types of potential food system disruption scenarios for the UK, focusing on routes to civil unrest. We take a backcasting approach by defining as an end-point a societal event in which 1 in 2000 people have been injured in the UK, which 40% of experts rated as “Possible (20–50%)”, “More likely than not (50–80%)” or “Very likely (>80%)” over the coming decade. Over a timeframe of 50 years, this increased to 80% of experts. The experts considered two food system scenarios and ranked their plausibility of contributing to the given societal scenario. For a timescale of 10 years, the majority identified a food distribution problem as the most likely. Over a timescale of 50 years, the experts were more evenly split between the two scenarios, but over half thought the most likely route to civil unrest would be a lack of total food in the UK. However, the experts stressed that the various causes of food system disruption are interconnected and can create cascading risks, highlighting the importance of a systems approach. We encourage food system stakeholders to use these results in their risk planning and recommend future work to support prevention, preparedness, response and recovery planning.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2023 02:42
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2023 02:42
DOI: 10.3390/su152014783


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item